Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at it again for another action-packed event as UFC Vegas 72 goes down later TONIGHT (Sat., April 29, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Bantamweight showdown between Song Yadong and Ricky Simon. In the co-main event, Caio Borralho takes on Michal Oleksiejczuk in Middleweight action.
Let’s face it, it’s not the most stacked card, and though the headliner doesn’t exactly have any title implications, it should still be a banger of a fight between two Top 10 contenders looking to make a huge leap in the rankings. Simon is currently on a five-fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat in over three years. Currently sitting in the No. 10 spot, Simon has a chance to pick up another huge win over the No. 8 ranked fighter.
That said, Yadong is coming off a tough loss to Cory Sandhagen, so he will be going up against someone who is hungry for a win. The loss to “Sandman” snapped his three-fight win streak and stalled his progression closer to a Top 5 ranking, but a victory here gets him on track once again. It won’t come easy, though, because Simon has worked too hard on his ascension up the 135-pound mountain to let up now. Both of these men are all gad with no brakes once locked inside the cage, so it should provide rabid fight fans with a five-round, back-and-forth competitive contest.
It was a disastrous weigh in event that saw three fighters on the undercard come in heavy, starting with Irina Alekseeva coming in four pounds over for her Bantamweight debut against Stephanie Egger. Also, Hailey Cowan missed weight for her 135-pound matchup against Jamey-Lyn Horth. Both fights will proceed at catchweight and they will each be forced to give up a percentage of their fight purse to their foes. It’s especially disturbing that it will be both of their respective debuts with UFC.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
The original main event was set to feature Renato Moicano taking on Arman Tsarukyan. Unfortunately, Moicano suffered an injury and was forced out of the event. As a result, Simon and Yadong were yanked from UFC Fight Night 71 last week in order to headline this event. Ange Loosa bowed out of his welterweight battle against Josh Quinlan, who will now face LFA veteran Trey Waters. Also, Pete Rodriguez was yanked from his lightweight fight against Natan Levy.
Other than Moicano’s health setback, the other cancelled fight as a result of injury was one between Brian Kelleher and Journey Newson, which saw “Boom” bow out mysteriously, though he claimed it was UFC’s decision to yank him.
Fernando Padilla will make his UFC debut against 10-fight UFC veteran, Julian Erosa, who is coming off a tough loss to Alex Caceres in Dec. 2022. Erosa was on a UFC career high three-fight win streak prior to the loss, which means he’s never won enough fights to crack the Top 15. For Padilla, getting a win over an established UFC veteran would be a great way to break into the big leagues.
Welterweight newcomer, Trey Waters, didn’t have to wait too long to get his shot under the bright lights of UFC. He did, after all, make his pro debut in the sport just three years ago. He’s gone 7-1 in that span with his lone loss coming on the Contender Series. His opponent, Josh Quinlan, is 6-0-1 and looks to remain undefeated after making an explosive debut of his own by knocking out Jason Witt in the very first round in Aug. 2022.
Marcus McGhee stepped in for Brian Kelleher on super-short notice and will face Journey Newsome at a catchweight of 140 pounds. Currently on a two-fight win streak, McGhee is 6-1 as a pro with all of his wins coming by way of knockout, which makes him must-see T.V.
Irina Alekseeva and Hailey Cowan both started their UFC careers off on the wrong foot after they each failed to make weight for their Bantamweight fights against Stephanie Egger and Jamey-Lyn Horth — who will also be making her UFC debut — respectively. Now, not only do they come in on the promotion’s bad side and short their first UFC check, but they have to compete with added pressure to perform and win to prevent an early pink slip.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
We have already discussed most of the fights on the undercard in the sections prior, so let’s dive in to the lone fight we have yet to touch on, a Flyweight bout between Cody Durden and Charles Johnson.
Durden has been trying to stay consistent enough to crack the Top 15, but not being able to win more than three fights in a row has really hurt his cause. He will attempt to do that for the first time inside the Octagon against Johnson, who is coming off a loss to Ode Osbourne a few months ago. Both of these men have a long way to go, and it’s especially hard to get a ranking in the stacked 135-pound weight class.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
In another undercard matchup, Heavyweight sluggers, Martin Buday and Jake Collier will attempt to usher in the event with some hard-hitting action. Buday is currently on a 10-fight win streak that dates back to 2018, with eight of those coming by way of stoppage. As for Collier, he is on a two fight losing streak and has lost three of his last four fights inside the Octagon. If he loses here it could be the end of the road for him, so he the person who needs a win the most. I don’t understand the booking given the discrepancy of their success over the last few years, but Collier can make the most of it and extend his UFC career with an impressive showing.
Interest Level: 5/10
Undefeated big man (9-0, 2-0 UFC), Waldo Cortes-Acosta, will put his nine-fight win streak on the line against fellow hard-hitting Heavyweight, Marcos Rogerio De Lima, who is 3-1 in his last four outings and was most recently seen submitting longtime UFC veteran and former champion, Andrei Arlovski, in the very first round.
Rodolfo Vieira will attempt to get back on the winning track after suffering a tough unanimous decision loss to Chris Curtis when he battles Cody Brundage, who also came up short in his previous outing inside the Octagon against Michal Oleksiejczuk, who knocked him out in the very first round.
In the co-main event, surging Middleweight sensation, Caio Borralho, will look to extend his win streak to 13 against the aforementioned Michal Oleksiejczuk. Borralho has been on rampage for the last seven years. Though he had to win twice on the Contender Series to punch his ticket to the big show, he has made the most of it once he got in by besting his first three challengers. As for Oleksiejczuk, he is 4-1 in his last five fights, winning three of those via first-round knockout. This one is my pick to steal the show.
Enjoy the fights!
Full UFC Vegas 72 Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 72 Main Event On ESPN+:
135 lbs.: Yadong Song vs. Ricky Simon
UFC Vegas 72 Main Card on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Caio Borralho vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
185 lbs.: Cody Brundage vs. Rodolfo Vieira
265 lbs.: Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
145 lbs.: Julian Erosa vs. Fernando Padilla
UFC Vegas 72 Prelims Card On ESPN2/ESPN+ (4:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Josh Quinlan vs. Trey Waters (not Ange Loosa)
265 lbs.: Martin Buday vs. Jake Collier
155 lbs.: Natan Levy vs. Pete Rodriguez— CANCELED (details here)
125 lbs.: Cody Durden vs. Charles Johnson
135 lbs.: Irina Alekseeva vs. Stephanie Egger
140 lbs.: Journey Newson vs. Marcus McGhee (not Brian Kelleher)
135 lbs.: Hailey Cowan vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 72 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 72 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Song vs. Simon” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.